My parents and younger sister live a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom, red-roofed suburban house in a small cul-de-sac. My parents bought it in 1999 and it’s the only childhood home I’ve ever known. While I ‘officially’ moved out 3 years ago when I moved to Brisbane to start full time work, given my transient lifestyle (and my inability to stay in one place for longer than 11 months), my ever-compassionate parents have taken be back for ‘short-term stays’ a number of times.
While there’s a big, lovely kitchen, we have no floor covering in the kitchen, dining room or lounge room and our bathrooms are very dilapidated. The left-hand door of the wardrobe in my sister’s room doesn’t work very well and you have to hold the toilet button down for it to flush properly. Sure, the house has plenty of physical problems, but that’s our house – our home on the other hand, is a completely different story.
There’s a section of wall in the laundry that has pen marks representing the growth spurts of my cousins, my sister and myself and the hills hoist in the backyard has been swung off, climbed on and used to make cubbies.
The kitchen table has housed many family celebration dinners, where we’ve squeezed 10 of us around the table to share together. It’s been cluttered with mess and a common dumping ground for the things we don’t know what to do with. It’s been laid across to strap ankles pre-netball games and stood on to change lightbulbs. It’s been an artist’s workplace, a uni student’s study space and a teacher’s print, cut and laminate station.
Our backyard has had blown up pools of various sizes, a sandpit, a vegetable patch and a makeshift netball court. We’ve sun-baked on the lawn and sweltered in the summer heat when we once used the garden shed as a toy-room. The gardens have been cultivated by our family; we’ve watched lemons and lychees grow, we’ve accidently sprouted a pumpkin patch and tried not to kill the mint. There’s heirlooms in the garden beds and a giant rock slab that came all the way from Charleville and is signed by my grandfather and his property neighbours before they set off to fight in World War II.
Sure, our home isn’t perfect, it’s not very clean, but the front door is always open and that’s one thing I’m really proud of my parent’s for cultivating. There’s always room for one more at the table, there’s always food to share and there’s always a bed if someone needs it.
This home has housed birthday parties, get-together’s, bon fires and pool nights. It’s housed screaming matches and long cuddles in mum and dad’s bed. This house isn’t the nicest looking, but one thing’s for sure – you can feel the love permeating from the walls.